LOS ANGELES — The Giants and Dodgers expected to slug it out for the division title in September. They didn’t expect to actually get to September during the first game of this huge three-game series.
At 12:40 a.m. at Dodger Stadium, Adrian Gonzalez hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the 14th to give the Dodgers a 5-4 win over the Giants. Mike Broadway, the eighth Giants pitcher, walked A.J. Ellis to open the 14th inning. Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley singled to right to load the bases with no outs. Yusmeiro Petit entered for Broadway and gave up the winning hit on the first pitch, bringing an end to a game that started in August.
The Giants took an early lead, many hours earlier, when they sent eight hitters to the plate in the third inning. Brandon Belt’s single with the bases loaded tied the game and two runs scored when Marlon Byrd reached on an infield single. Utley knocked the grounder down as he slid into the outfield, but Nori Aoki scored from third and Matt Duffy alertly raced him from second.
Jake Peavy gave up a run during a long first inning and then settled in and retired 10 straight. Peavy has had trouble the third time through the order this year, and the Dodgers jumped on him in the sixth. Rollins hit a leadoff single and Adrian Gonzalez tied the game with a homer two batters later. After retiring Justin Turner, Peavy gave up the go-ahead homer to Andre Ethier. The shot landed inches over the right field wall, just out of the reach of a leaping Byrd.
Byrd got his revenge in the eighth. Duffy drew a leadoff walk and stole second, and Byrd brought him home with a hard double to right. In 10 games with the Giants, Byrd has driven in 17 runs.
The Dodgers got the go-ahead run to third in the eighth and the winning run to third in the ninth, but Sergio Romo got out of both jams. He appeared to balk with a runner on third in the ninth, but it wasn’t called.
Jim Johnson has been a disaster for the Dodgers, but the right-handed reliever got the home team through the 11th. Chris Hatcher took over in the 12th and gave up long fly balls to Duffy and Brandon Belt, but both died on the track.
When the winning run reached second in the 13th, the Giants intentionally walked the bases loaded to George Kontos could face Hatcher, the right-handed reliever. He flied out to right.
The Giants put the go-ahead run on second with two down in the 14th, but Marlon Byrd struck out.
Starting pitching report: Coming into this game, opposing hitters had a .713 OPS against Peavy the first time they were seeing him and a .532 OPS the second time through. The third time through the order, Peavy was allowing an OPS of 1.055 — and that was before Gonzalez and Ethier took him deep.
Bullpen report: Bruce Bochy needed bullets from all of these guys, especially as September approached. Santiago Casilla threw two innings and Kontos pitched a pair to get the tie to the 14th inning.
At the plate: Buster Posey had four hits, all singles. He had one hit through nine innings.
In the field: Aoki had a chance to nail Utley in the eighth but his short throw to second sailed way wide. With Angel Pagan and De Aza joining the roster Tuesday, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Aoki pulled early most nights.
Attendance: The Dodgers announced a crowd of 40,851. Those who stayed until September had a good time, it seemed.
Up next: Tuesday night’s game might be the matchup of the season. Madison Bumgarner is coming off a 5-0 month. Zack Greinke leads the Majors with a 1.61 ERA. On top of that, these two might be the two best-hitting pitchers in the game. Buckle up.